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Human capital

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Human capital refers, in macro-economics, to ambiguous combinations of social capital, instructional capital, and individual capital. Classical economics referred to it as labor, one of three factors of production, and considered it to be a commodity. Most modern analyses differentiate social trust, sharable knowledge, and the individual leadership and creativity as three distinct capacities of a human applying him or her self in economic activity.

There is a global debate regarding the fair distribution of human capital. This is most pointed with respect to educated individuals, who typically migrate from poorer places to richer places seeking opportunity, making 'the rich richer and the poor poorer'. African nations have invoked this argument with respect to slavery, other colonized peoples have invoked it with respect to the 'brain drain' which occurs when the most talented individuals depart for education or opportunity to the colonizing country (historically, Britain and France and the U.S.A.). Even in Canada and other developed nations, the loss of human capital is considered a problem that can only be offset by further draws on the human capital of poorer nations via immigration. The rights of individuals to travel and opportunity, despite some historical exceptions such as the Soviet bloc and it's "Iron Curtain", seem to consistently outweigh the rights of nation-states that nurture and educate them. Thus, the problem continues, and developed nations deny reparations are appropriate, necessary, or effective, as developing nations lose their talent.

This debate resembles, in form, that regarding natural capital.

See also social capital, instructional capital, individual capital, natural capital, capital (economics)

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